New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks with media after casting his vote, November 5, 2013.
Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

Primary colors: GOP hopefuls slam Christie after big win

Updated

The uber conservative 2016 hopefuls are showing their primary colors and hitting Chris Christie for not being one of them—even after Tuesday’s big win for moderates.

On the heels of Christie’s big win—he defeated his Democratic challenger by 22.5 points—GOPers are throwing barbs at the New Jersey governor and newly minted head of the Republican Governor’s Assocation.

Florida’s suddenly MIA Sen. Marco Rubio dissed Christie as a New Englander in a blue state.

“I think we need to understand that some of these races don’t apply to future races,” Rubio told CNN. “Every race is different—it has a different set of factors—but I congratulate [Christie] on his win. … Governor Christie has certainly shown he has a way of winning in New Jersey, in states like New Jersey… so I congratulate him on that.”

But yesterday’s victories for moderates and Democrats indicates that Christie’s big win does mean something—in Alabama, a Tea Party activist with birther leanings lost after business money flooded in to support his conservative, but less extreme, opponent; in Virginia, the far-right Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli lost after his Democratic opponent skewered his anti-abortion and far-right politics, and who can forget the New York City mayoral race where Democrat Bill de Blasio became the city’s first Democratic mayor in two decades, winning in a landslide against Republican Joe Lhota, who couldn’t seem to shed the Tea Party association?

Yet the GOP’s Tea Party wing just can’t believe it.

Kentucky’s Sen. Rand Paul used “moderate” as a subtle barb and suggested that the New Jersey governor is not a true conservative.

“I think the Republican Party is a big party, and we need moderates like Chris Christie who can win in New Jersey in our party,” Paul told CNN. “[W]e do need moderates like Chris Christie in the party. … I think the party in general is more conservative.”

Paul went on to blast Christie on the Senate floor for featuring himself in the fundraising ads for Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts, all but naming the New Jersey governor in a rant during a hearing on the federal response to superstorm Sandy.

“Some of these ads, people who are running for office put their mug all over the ads while they’re in the middle of a political campaign,” Paul said. “In New Jersey, $25 million was spent on ads that included somebody running for political office.”

Paul suggested it would create “a conflict of interest” and upset taxpayers who didn’t want their money being spent in that way.

“And that’s why, when people are trying to do good and trying to use the taxpayer’s money wisely, they’re offended to see our money spent on political ads. That’s just offensive,” he said.

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz packed a few backhanded punches into brief remarks.

“I think it is terrific that he is brash, that he is outspoken and that he won his race,” Cruz told ABC News. “But I think we need more leaders in Washington with the courage to stand for principle. And in particular, Obamacare is not working.”

Speaking at a Wednesday press conference, Christie was cagey about his future political aspirations.

“I’m going to finish the job,” he said. “If the time comes where I change my mind and I want to do something else, then I’ll tell the people of New Jersey that I want to do something else.”

Christie said he was more ready for a possible 2016 bid than he was in 2010, when his name was first floated as a possible candidate.

“I’m a better executive today than I was when I answered those questions about two years ago. You would think I’d be better prepared to be president,” he said, but added “I just don’t know.”

Morning Joe, 11/7/13, 7:20 AM ET

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Primary colors: GOP hopefuls slam Christie after big win

Updated